Kentucky Politics

Louisville Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian has withdrawn her candidacy for the 2022 election to the Kentucky State House of Representatives.

Republican lawmakers in charge of redistricting combined Marzian’s House district 34 with district 31, currently represented by Democratic Rep. Josie Raymond. The Kentucky Democratic Party is currently suing over the new boundaries citing “extreme partisan gerrymandering.” 

Marzian said Monday she’d rather withdraw after serving nearly 30 years in the House than square off against her fellow Louisville Democrat.

“I am not going to play their sadistic and misogynist game of pitting Democratic women against each other,” Marzian said in a new release. “I was truly honored to represent the wonderful people of Kentucky House District 34. This is not easy for anyone who loves Louisville and loves this Commonwealth.” 

Marzian has been one of the most outspoken members of the House, regularly voicing her opposition against measures passed by the Republican majority on the House floor. In her tenure, Marzian has advocated for women’s and children issues, the LGBTQ+ community, the environment and city of Louisville.  

“I was a voice that the Republicans wanted to get rid of because they were afraid of truth to power,” she said. 

Marzian’s name will still appear on the May primary ballot, but none of the votes cast for her will count. 

She joins Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, a Democrat from Louisville, and longtime Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively in deciding not to run for reelection following GOP-led redistricting. 

Jenkins chose not to run in January saying she wanted to make room for someone else in district 44, which was redrawn to include a majority of racial minority voters. Cantrell opted not to run against Rep. Lisa Willner of Louisville after redistricting maps combined districts 38 and 35. Cantrell is instead running to be a Court of Appeals judge.

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has allowed the new redistricting maps to take effect, though the state Democratic Party’s lawsuit is ongoing.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.